It has been a month of loss for the Malayalam film music world with the passing away of two musicians who left an indelible mark on it – music director K. Raghavan, better known as Raghavan Master, who played a part in Malayalam music discovering its own identity using its traditional sounds, and Manna Dey, who became a legend in the State with just two songs.

On Friday, Swaralaya and the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club paid tributes to the two stalwarts at a memorial programme organised here.

The day was marked by an hour-long talk by film-maker and lyricist Sreekumaran Thampi, laced with short renditions of Raghavan Master’s songs and descriptions of the intricacies in their structure.

“Raghavan Master can lay claim to many firsts in Malayalam film music, including the first qawwali through ‘Kaayalarikathu valayerinjappo…’ With P. Bhaskaran, he formed the first great lyricist-musician pairing,” he said.

He hailed Manna Dey as a singer who was adept both in classical-based songs and fast numbers. He sang a few lines from classic songs such as ‘Pyaar hua ikraar hua…’ and ‘Zindagi kaisi hai paheli…’

M.A. Baby, Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), told a few students from a city school who attended the function to make Raghavan Master a model in their approach towards ‘jobs.’

“He started as a tamburu artist in All India Radio even though he had a deep musical knowledge by then. It is a lesson for the current times when dignity of job has attained a different meaning,” Mr. Baby said.

He commended Manna Dey’s achievement in carving a niche for himself in the Hindi music field dominated by the likes of Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, and Mukesh.

Music director M. Jayachandran’s speech was filled with recollections of the ‘heavenly experience’ of listening to Raghavan Master’s concert tapes.

Carnatic musician K. Omanakutty also paid tributes to the legends.